Answer this question. When you bring all of the best players in the NBA together for a showcase game, what would you expect to see? If your answer was anywhere along the lines of: dunks, points being poured in, fast pace and lots of excitement; it’s fair to say you sit alongside most of us.
Good thing for you, this showcase exists, in fact it happened over the weekend – It’s called the NBA All-Star game. One problem, not everyone loves seeing the one long highlight reel that is this game.
Some fans believe that the All-Star game is nothing more than trash basketball being served up to fickle fans, headlined by no defence, no intensity and no real reason to even call it a game. Harsh, but seemingly they have some point.
Take the just gone 2016 All-Star game in Toronto for example. The game smashed offensive records, with the most points in history being scored, the most three pointers being scored and attempted, plus for those more ‘intent’ watchers, the least defence being played. We saw shot after shot being jacked up, dunk after dunk being let through and of course point after point being put up.
The final score was a 196 – 173 win to the Western Conference for Christ sake.
To someone tuning in to see a tight, highly intense tussle, well this game would have made for weak viewing. But for the rest of us, there was some incredible stuff going on.
We saw LeBron James call out Kobe Bryant in their last ever All-star duel, daring him to take a shot on him. We also saw the eventual game MVP (back-to-back) and ever-explosive Russell Westbrook electrify with what seemed like an endless supply of power-slam dunks. Paul George let everyone know he had fully recovered from his leg break by pouring in 41 points, one shy of the All-star game record. Not to be overshadowed, that impossible to describe freak, Steph Curry effortlessly drained a near half-court shot in the dying seconds. Swish.
What the pessimists seem to miss is the POINT of the game. Just watch the players on the court or the fans in the crowd; the game is about having fun. It’s the ultimate pickup game. Fans get to see the best players in the world showing off as if they were still in high school trying to get the attention of the hottest girl in class. Well except maybe Kobe and LeBron, they were already thinking NBA at that time in their lives…
These superstar athletes are letting their hair down and playing for us, to show us what they can do with do. Their skills, their athleticism, their god given talent is being shown in an environment that promotes it. Away from the stresses of their competitive vacuum.
Seriously, do people really expect these guys to go out at 100 per cent, in a spectacle game. The All-star game is a mid-season break for a reason, so rather than hate on it, try to loosen up. Love the game for what it is. The best in the world, showing us what they can do when they aren’t stressing about strategies or winning.
Written By Juan Estepa @EstepaJ